COUNSELORS, REHABILITATION AND SCHOOL Number 429 Interest Area 10 1998
SCHOOL COUNSELORS help students with educational, vocational, emotional, and social development. Their primary responsibility is to help students select the academic field that best meets their educational or vocational goals. They also help students with school, personal, social, and family problems that affect classroom behavior and academic progress. They may provide, teen parenting, individual and small- and large-group counseling, and crisis intervention.
High School Counselors spend much of their time scheduling students into classes. The counselor is often responsible for making sure students meet graduation or college entrance requirements. They review transcripts to determine graduation eligibility and write letters of recommendation. They may also teach.
They provide information about college and vocational schools. They may also provide grant and scholarship information.
Junior High School Counselors spend almost all of their time counseling students, and usually are not involved with class scheduling. Most of them teach part-time.
Elementary School Counselors identify aptitudes, learning difficulties, and other basic aspects of a child's makeup. They use different methods on younger students. Counselors spend much of their time observing students in the classroom and consulting with teachers and parents. They may also consult with school psychologists and social workers.
College Counselors deal with individuals whose problems may be more complex. Their students come from diverse age and cultural backgrounds. Counselors help students orient to college life, match them to degree programs based on interest, aptitude, or educational assessment. Community college counselors may also help students transfer to four-year colleges. Counselors may specialize in such areas as college re-entry or rehabilitation. They may teach career life-planning courses.
REHABILITATION COUNSELORS work in public or private agencies, colleges and universities, or are self employed. They help people with physical, mental, emotional, or social disabilities to adapt to the world of work. They arrange vocational and academic assessment and place clients in suitable training or jobs. They may arrange for on-site job coaching or assistive devices, such as specially equipped wheel chairs, to help clients adapt to work or school surroundings. They may work with people with a variety of disabilities, or specialize in helping clients with the same disability, such as blindness or deafness. They usually work as part of rehabilitation specialist teams with physicians, nurses, psychiatrists, and physical and occupational therapists. Together, they develop plans that fit with the clients' aptitudes, education, physical abilities and career goals. Counselors maintain close contact with clients during training to resolve problems and to verify that the placement fits the clients' abilities.
High School Counselors handle a caseload of up to 600 students, leaving little time for other serious problems. Some counselors divide their time between two or more campuses. Personal safety may be a concern for elementary, junior high, and high school counselors as violence on campuses becomes more commonplace.
Rehabilitation counselors may spend time away from their office observing clients on the job or developing job opportunities for clients.
The following information is from the California Projections of Employment published by the Labor Market Information Division. The figures represent the broad occupational group Vocational and Education Counselors that includes School and Rehabilitation Counselors.
Estimated number of workers in 1993 18,810 Estimated number of workers in 2005 26,050 Projected Growth 1993-2005 39% Estimated openings due to separations by 2005 5,900
(These figures do not include self-employment or openings due to turnover.)
This occupation is expected to have a somewhat higher than average growth rate throughout this decade. As the demand for counseling services growing in the State's public school system, the need for counseling will grow.
Opportunities for jobs in rehabilitation counseling will depend on the level of federal funding and proposed changes in the State Workers' Compensation program. More opportunities will result from replacement needs than from actual job growth.
WAGES, HOURS, AND FRINGE BENEFITS
Counselors' salaries vary a great deal according to education, experience, location, and type of employer. The average salary for a counselor is a about $3,500 per month.
School Counselors work nine or ten months a year. Some School Counselors work evenings. Benefits for School and Rehabilitation Counselors in most cases include paid vacation, sick leave, medical, dental, vision and life insurance, and retirement plans.
ENTRANCE REQUIREMENTS AND TRAINING
School Counselors are required to obtain a Pupil Personnel Services Credential which requires completion of at least 30 semester units of school counseling, including a practicum which involves students. The prospective counselor must also pass the California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST).
Community and four-year college counselors need a bachelor's degree and current enrollment in a master of counseling, guidance, psychology, or social studies. A community college credential is no longer required, but it gives holders a competitive edge in the job market.
Rehabilitation Counselors should have a master's degree or be enrolled in a master's program. Government agencies require a bachelor's degree with related work experience. Many private rehabilitation firms hire certified counselors, or require it for promotions. The Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification certifies counselors based on both experience and education. The commission makes some provisions for counselors who began work before a bachelor's degree was required.
As School Counselors gain work experience and meet continuing education requirements, they receive salary increases. With graduate course work, some advance to positions such as head counselor, director of pupil services, director of guidance, or school psychologist. College and university counselors may advance to dean of students, dean of placement or personnel, financial aid director, or supervisor of testing.
Rehabilitation Counselors advance through regular salary steps as they gain experience. Promotions may depend on graduate degrees, especially for those who enter the field with only a bachelor's degree.
FINDING THE JOB
Job seekers should make one or more contacts from the following lists.
Community college districts; public and private school systems Public and private colleges and universities Professional associations and college job placement centers
State and federal rehabilitation agencies (Positions are classified as vocational rehabilitation counselors or specialists) Professional associations and college job placement centers Private rehabilitation companies College and universities Worker's compensation insurance companies
ADDITIONAL SOURCES OF INFORMATION
California Association for Counseling and Development 2555 East Chapman Ave, Suite 201 Fullerton, CA 92831 (714) 871-6460 www.cacd.org
California Commission on Teacher Credentialing P.O. Box 944270 Sacramento, CA 94244-2700 (916) 445-7256
American School Counselor Association 801 North Fairfax St. Suite 310 Alex VA 22314 (800) 306-4722 www.schoolcounselor.org
RELATED OCCUPATIONAL GUIDES
Teachers, Elementary School No. 10 Teachers, Secondary School No. 57 Instructors, Community College No. 139 Occupational Therapists No. 143
OCCUPATIONAL CODE REFERENCES
DOT (Dictionary of Occupational Titles, 4th Ed., 1991) Counselor 045.107-010 Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor 045.107-042
OES (Occupational Employment Statistics) System Vocational & Educational Counselors 315140
Source: State of California, Employment Development Department, Labor Market Information Division, Information Services Group, (916) 262-2162.
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